All about Books
This is the page where I will be discussing what I'm reading, reviewing those books and be open to suggestions to keep adding to my To Be Read pile. Honestly, I'm never going to get through that thing anyway, so the more the merrier.
The second and final book review of the night and then I'm all up to date before my holiday. Finally getting all organised!
Well, that was beautiful and dark and inspiring. Oh and I'll try, but there may be minor spoilers because I'm just going to gush about this book.
First off, I loved the idea of people's jobs being based on their eye colour and I've never heard of that before. I mean, it wouldn't be so good for me if I lived in Karthia because I have brown eyes...but at least I could hide in Valoria's workshop and help her invent things? Even if I might not be very good. The only other thing I'd be remotely good at, I think, would be as a beast master, because I have a degree with animals. That's sound logic. :)
I can't pick a favourite character, but I've found several new book friends. Speaking of her, I'm so glad Valoria wasn't the fantasy typical princess who expected things to be done for her just because she's a princess. No, she's an inventor who stays up way too late working, who truly cares for her family, her friends and her people. I'm possibly in love with her.
As the main character, Odessa resembled, like, an actual human being. She fights for what she thinks is right, she makes mistakes, she falls in love, she cares about people and she's amazing. Basically, I believed all these characters since they acted like real people, even the villains. The Shades were suitably terrifying and the action scenes were great.
Along with death and stuff, there was an important portion of the story that talked about addictions and how they affected a character. It wasn't glossed over and, along with other things in them, took several chapters. Karthia is also a place where people of all races and sexualities live there and are accepted. The main characters are no different. Odessa is on-the-page bisexual that is mentioned and who has healthy relationships.
It took me a while get my hands on a copy, but when I did, I became a seagull from Finding Nemo! :) Yes, I loved this book so much and am very excited for the second book, even if it is next year. The way this year is going (how is it July??), I'll be reading it before I know it!
All the best. Happy reading. :)
First of two of reviews today, a day late, but I go on holiday next week, so I'll get back to my schedule after I come back! Anyway, here we go.
That was both very intense and so much fun! Though I haven't read many of them yet, Age of Assassins reminded me of Robin Hobb's books. I'm looking forward to continuing.
However, I knocked half a star off for two reasons. Firstly, for a first book, the cast list was huge and some of the characters, particularly the young squires, sometimes became one character in my mind. This is simply a personal thing, though, so won't affect everyone. The other thing that confused me was the prologue. Half of it seemed connected to the main story as some backstory, but one of the characters never showed up after the prologue. A book 2 character maybe??
I can't not mention the mother-son bond Girton and his master had, as well as professional for their assassin jobs. Girton didn't have the best start in life, and I guess, given her job, I expected Merela to be harsh with him too or something, but she's pretty amazing overall. The other secondary characters, both good and bad, were also well rounded and felt like people.
For an epic fantasy, this was a great whodunit- or rather, who will do it? :) So much mystery, intrigue and drama, along with magic and fighting. The friendships Girton makes, despite never having that before, was great, as I really felt how nervous and conflicted he felt in that. Oh, and the animals. So many animals. And Xus, the horse belonging to Girton and his master, was rather temperamental and sometimes vicious. I loved him.
It was a relatively quick read and highly enjoyable. So yes, I will be continuing with the second book, Blood of Assassins. Hopefully I'll get it read after I come back from my holiday in time for the final book releasing next month. :)
The second and final review is one I'm very excited to discuss. This is the author's third book.
Aside from the two POV's making some of the story drag a bit near the end, I honestly can't think of anything I really disliked about the book. The first time I read Radio Silence, I read it in a handful of hours and related to it so much at the time.
Reading I Was Born For This for the first time was a similar experience. Minor spoilers to follow, though I've done my best.
As usual, there were various references I understood and loved- maybe at times it also helps being English? The instance that internet friendships are real, even though online and real life might be different was a really important topic. I loved Angel and Juliet's friendship, as well when they meet Bliss and have this really adorable trio. :)
I also kinda have a strong love for the trio that are Jimmy, Rowan and Lister, known to Angel and everyone as The Ark. The reality that they know compared to the fandom of other people was such a strong part of the story and really made me think about what it must be like, at times, for celebrities I admire, and how people can go from being anonymous one day to known all over the world the next. It also pointed out how fandom isn't everything in life something else which is an important point. Also enjoyed the Joan of Arc quotes, many of which I'd come across before.
Bonus points to Jimmy having an amazing granddad and Angel having parents who care about her. Even more for again Angel and Jimmy having a simply platonic friendship, however strange and unlikely it turned out to be.
My most favourite part of the book turned out to be how highlighted- in a positive way- the aspects of faith, mental health and sexuality are in a person. Angel is a Muslim. Jimmy is a trans, gay, Christian with severe anxiety. Other characters are also on the LGBT+ spectrum. Of course, while several things were different from my experience, I'm just going to ahead and say what an important thing this is. None of these things made the characters- they had their own personalities, but they added to who they were as people.
And as a Christian with social anxiety and depression, I just...I'm so glad this wasn't glossed over, that I felt really heard and related to Jimmy in those ways. Before I became a Christian, I always thought how Christians never had any issues and things were more or less perfect for them.
Haha, old me was so naïve!
Anyway, as a Christian who is also currently figuring out my sexuality, it also felt important to me here too.
Once again, Alice Oseman has written a fantastic book with characters I love and, at another, different stage in my life, can really relate to in many ways. As I did with Radio Silence. So all the stars to I Was Born For This. I'm very much looking forward to what book 4 brings! :D
All the best and happy reading. :)
So these two book reviews are a little late but at least they're still in the same week as I'd originally planned. :)
In this review, I will discuss my own experiences, as others have on Goodreads.
I honestly expected this one to be a rant, but managed to find some things in it I liked. See, I understood Elise's desires to fit in a lot. The first day of a new school year, getting new workbooks and having that feeling of 'This could finally be a good year' were always present- for about the first week. But I was that teenager.
The bus incidents were also something I could highly relate to- and I felt so much sympathy for Elise in those moments. But not for much else. So I'm going to continue with the positives I found first.
Vicky and Mel were great characters. I loved every scene they were in and was glad Elise had them around. Also, this book is both YA and has present parents/family in. Yes, you read that right. They care about Elise a lot and want the best for her.
In wanting to escape her school life and world, Elise finds being a DJ is something she's good at- something unique in a YA book I actually enjoyed reading about. And the song choices were ones I'd either heard of, or else now have new music to listen to. :)
I'm torn by the ending of the book. I know suspending belief sometimes is of course natural, but still. Maybe people get some kind of happy ending like that, and maybe they don't. I'm inclined to think not.
Alright, here we go. After the first two chapters, I was only reading it because of the money paid, else I think I might have just straight up thrown it away. They were so problematic for me in terms of how Elise doesn't experience everyone liking her immediately, despite her efforts to change. Something doesn't go her way, she thinks everyone will forever hate her, so she decides to take the next 'logical' step and kill herself.
I'm sorry, what??
Not only that, but she goes through several options and decides to ring someone from school after for attention and admits it. Again- what? Yes, she's been bullied for years. Yes, I can highly relate to it, but it seemed to me like Elise thought herself too highly for others and didn't really want to make friends with anyone. She certainly didn't act like it, despite the summer changes she'd tried to make. Elise's actions on the first day of the new school year do not mirror anything I ever desperately did to stop the bullies from bullying me, even when I knew it would never work.
I left school with mental health conditions I didn't have names for at that time, which only worsened at my first college until I myself thought about committing suicide. Thankfully, I had support around me- even when I didn't think I did- that pulled me out and helped me learn to cope and see my true worth wasn't in other people's opinions of me.
Being at rock bottom like that remains one of my worst days. I can't imagine what it's like to be in that place often.
So it makes and angry and upsets me when I read a book where characters like Elise just throw around mental illness like it's 'cool' and describe minor annoyances as their 'worst days ever'. I know it's different for everyone, but still. I hated those initial chapters. Rarely, do I ever use the word 'hate' to describe a book. There you have it.
I just generally couldn't stand Elise's attitude to other people. Being friends with Sally and Chava because she felt they were less than her, and just using them.
The moment she snapped at a guy she's only just met and who asked her a music question and then was all like 'don't question my music tastes.'
At one point trying to be a 'good' older sister to Alex by destroying something she had worked on so hard...Alex who is a young child. I couldn't understand any of that at all.
Elise just needs to grow up fast!
My final issue with the book was the romance, because the majority of YA books have to include it *rolls eyes* I hated the so-called romance. Char was a horrible, jealous so-and-so and I don't know why anyone would find him attractive with a personality like his.
So, there's my review. I don't think I'll be reading it again. I'm glad I could relate to some things and that parts were well done, but overall, I can't find myself to be too enthusiastic with all the problems I had with it.
I hope someone else enjoyed the book more than me. I'm genuinely happy for you in that respect.
All the best and happy reading. :)
Today I bring you my four outstanding book reviews and so decided to put them in a round-up again, because it's easier than individual posts to get lost in the void or something. So without further ado, here we go.
- Leah on the Offbeat
- A Thousand Perfect Notes
- Queens of Fennbirn
It took me a while to pick this one up, but when the 2nd one was released in small, same-sized paperback as this- and the 3rd due the same treatment releasing later this year- I knew I should get on with it. Also, due to the cover being red, when you hold the book closed, the lines of all the pages are the same. I love it when that happens. The same has happened with the 2nd book, being blue and it makes me want to read it more. :)
After the initial few chapters, I found the beginning slowed and it was one of those books where it doesn't feel like things are happening too often, but still oddly wanting to keep going? So that dropped a star.
But eventually, I found a rhythm, found I cared quite a bit about most of the characters I was supposed to and disliked those I was also supposed to. The people in this book aren't all one-dimensional either and sometimes their actions surprised me. I really felt bad for Kellen a lot of this book- as a writer, I'm fully aware of making things hard for characters and then keeping on with that. But so many times, I just wanted the guy to catch a break, you know?
It was also a pretty hilarious book at times, with my kind of sarcasm. And I enjoyed the magic system and world building that went along with it. I think Spellslinger has done some good set-up for Shadowblack, which I'll be taking on holiday next month. I was in a bit of a fantasy slump and I think choosing to read the book now- for whatever reasons- has helped me out of that. :)
When I saw Love, Simon at the cinema and then read the book soon after, part of the reason was because I really wanted to get around to Leah on the Offbeat, which at the time was almost due for UK release. (How has that whole time gone by so fast??) I'm not 100% certain how to write this review, for reasons I may disclose later, so I'll just try and get on with it. And Leah was so relatable for me in this book.
Seeing all those characters from Simon vs whom I love was fabulous. Simon and Bram were even more adorable now they each know who the other is. Whenever they were in scenes together, it was just a ton of squish and too much cuteness. :D I loved all of them going to prom which, like mine, wasn't all fairytales and magic, like they make out in films. Again, relatable. Having those characters still hate on Martin Addison for what he did to Simon was realistic too. And things like body-shaming and racism were also tackled.
Leah's mother was a lot of fun to read about and I enjoyed the parts with her and Leah in. They were just trying to get by and be a normal family, even though they were poor. The one thing that still annoyed me about Leah was the way she'd be really critical of people at times, especially Abby, though part of me does understand that it was probably some kind of defence mechanism. I know I sometimes push away the people who I need close because I'm scared or whatnot.
Oh, and all of those references? The Disney ones, the Harry Potter ones- including Hermione at the Yule Ball; who didn't love that dress and thought she looked amazing?- and also mentioned Inez and Nina, which I was so happy about. (If you don't know who Inez and Nina are, look it up. Also you're missing some great books!) Abby getting into finally reading Harry Potter was a highlight. :)
Leah and Abby taking a road trip to look at colleges was a lot of fun to read about, along with characters from The Upside of Unrequited making an appearance. I haven't read that one yet, but was already aware all of the author's books are part of the same universe/locations. I'm so proud of Leah with her drumming 'audition'. The whole road trip thing sounds so much fun and I'm kind of jealous, because while the education system in the UK is really different, I don't live in an area where I can do road trips and never got to do too much looking around at my chosen college/university or others. If I ever decide to go back to uni one day, I'll definitely change that.
The whole thing of Leah basically torturing herself over Abby and thinking about her, like, on every second page was both sweet and rather relatable.
And I've been debating whether to do this since I've not talked about it online too much, but since it's Pride month, and my first one at that...I'm still figuring me out, but I'm 98% sure I'm bisexual. I'm also demisexual, which I've known for a lot longer and having the actual label for that made so much sense.
So that's the main reason I wanted to read this book- and I highly enjoyed it. Maybe more so than Simon vs, even.
I've been following Cait's blog for about three years now and the whole of book Twitter went crazy when she announced her first book was being published. Firstly, I should say that A Thousand Perfect Notes has trigger warnings for verbal and physical abuse.
In real life, that cover is even more pretty. I love the colour scheme and the close up of the butterfly wing. It in a way reminds me of those dead insects that get pinned to walls, as gruesome as that is. So I read the book all in a few hours and only stopped for food. It's a definite re-read. And speaking of food, this is a very Cait book with the food- there always had to be a cake scene and it really made me hungry.
Despite their terrible home life, Beck and Joey are such great siblings and I loved their scenes. I don't remember much about being a 5 year-old myself, but Joey is such a bundle of energy and joy. I have such a soft spot for her. Beck seems like a typical Hufflepuff, so of course I want to protect him, but at least he has August for that. Though their mother is a very detailed and complex villain, though it of course doesn't excuse any of her behaviour.
And I adore August- who got Beck to open up, who doesn't care about what others think about her, and whose family are so wonderful in stark contrast to Beck's mother. They're all so warm and open, and that's before I get to the animals. Because that part made me cry- all of these otherwise abandoned animals that get a second chance due to what August's family do for them. Maybe that's because I have a degree in animal behaviour, but I'd love to be able to do something like that or something one day. A long shot, but anyway, I digress.
It isn't all sunshine and rainbows, of course, but there are hopeful moments in there. Though I both cried and laughed through the ending, I do think it's positive after all.
Next year, Cait is releasing her second book, unrelated to A Thousand Perfect Notes, and I'm also excited for that and whatever she writes next. :)
I would definitely at least read Three Dark Crowns before the novellas, as there are a couple of spoilers in the first novella.
The Young Queens- 4.5 stars.
I loved this one, seeing the queens as sisters and friends, before they were separated due to their destiny. They were really sweet as children and it also describes their birth and a certain something that happens at the time. Reading through the scene where their guardians collected them was so heart-breaking and the aftermath of it for each queen was so different, but I suppose it came down to the families looking after them.
It was also nice to have some of the gaps filled in from big past events from the first book. The end scene with Jules finding Camden as her familiar was adorable and the time frames between things also helped. I also enjoyed what, to me, felt like tiny bits of foreshadowing for the third book of the series.
Of course, it would be nice if they could have stayed the kind of triplets who have each other's backs for life, but then, they'd be no story.
The Oracle Queen- 3.75 stars.
While I did think it got off to a slightly slow start, I loved finding out the real story behind the last ever oracle queen- because of course, legends are always just that. But Elsabet's true story is so tragic and I just wanted to take her out of the story and protect her.
It didn't come as a surprise that a certain main family line has always been crooked and out for their own ends, even all the way back in Elsabet's time.
It was really great to see how different Fennbirn was from this time into the Fennbirn we know from the island that Mirabella. Arsinoe and Katharine live in.
Overall rating for both novellas- 4 stars.
These novellas were a nice addition to the main series and I enjoyed finding out more about the world of Fennbirn. It was also nice to be back in the world, even for a short time because I'm really excited for Two Dark Reigns when it's released. :)
And that's all for today. All the best and happy reading.
When Daughter of the Burning City came out last year, the debut novel by Amanda Foody, it was everywhere. As with a lot of YA books that come into the UK, I had to wait a bit longer and finally got around to it late last year.
I really enjoyed it and highly anticipated Ace of Shades being released. Well...I enjoyed it more, and think I've found one of my favourite reads for this year! Pre-warning: Now I'm going to gush. A lot.
As usual, I'll do my best to keep this review spoiler free (and trying really hard because it's amazing! Go read the book!) so I'm going to have to choose my words very carefully. I also don't usually add GIFs in my book reviews but feel this needed it in places. :)
The first thing I have to point out is Ace of Shades has been compared to Six of Crows- a personal favourite duology of mine, as I've made no secret of. I get why this comparison has been made, but I think their similarities are limited. I see them as two very different, very enjoyable books.
First up, I loved the details about all the different gangs and none of them felt less dangerous than others or like they were just an excess of people. I really don't think I'd survive long in New Reynes, but hey, I say that about most worlds I read about. But the descriptions of, well, everything were so detailed and rich that I could definitely see it while reading.
Oh and there's a map! I love it when books have maps. And the City of Sin guidebook stuff at the start of each day were really fun too.
Now, the characters. Enne's transformation from prim and proper, finishing school girl to managing to adapt to life in the City of Sin was so much fun. I feel like some of her reactions early on would definitely be mine, but I guess you've got to blend in to these kind of situations to survive, right? And the way Enne managed to inject her own choices into situations where she had none- and basically turned into a badass- where so much fun to read about.
Levi is smart and sarcastic and fun and way too precious to live where he does. (Why do I say that about half the characters I meet in books??) Sure, he has power in some ways, but seeing him really struggle at times under the weight of that and the bad side of it isn't something I've come across much before. It made Levi seem way more human.
Other favourites definitely include Lola and Jac. I never knew what to make of Lola and all my assumptions about her, I think, were wrong. Mostly. She's great. I also want her and Jac to be my friends. (Again, I need to stop collecting imaginary book friends wherever I go!)
Also concerning Jac, re-read the second half of the first sentence I wrote about Levi and there you have it. Though part of that is because I see some of me in Jac. He totally seems like the natural choice for Hufflepuff, so that's obviously why we'd get on so well! :)
Dare I say it, I also like Vianca. Yes, he's dangerous and very scary, and no, I wouldn't want to be trapped in her office alone with her for a moment, but I like her. I'm thinking of her good points too, but honestly, I did enjoy the nervousness I felt when she was around and the magic she possesses, even if it's a horrible thing.
Yes, in real life, I'm a pretty typical Hufflepuff- but I'm sure, when it comes to reading and my own writing about the 'evil' characters, I'm just a Slytherin hiding in Hufflepuff clothing.
Actual footage of people's reactions when I tell them this
I'm joking. But I do enjoy well written villains- they're supposed to make you squirm and feel scared and all that. Vianca certainly does for me.
Overall, I highly enjoyed my time in New Reynes and it was worth all the extra waiting. Ace of Shades deserves all the stars and I am excited to go back when the second book, King of Fools, comes out next year. Until then...
All the best and happy reading. :)
I was supposed to do this last week, oops. But it's here now and it means I'm all up to date on book reviews for what I've read.
Since I saw the film, I was excited to read the book as well. I can see a potential reason why the film was only called 'Love, Simon' though. I'm not sure the book's title would leave much room on the title card announcing the film. :D
Regardless of titles, I did also really enjoy the book. I'm not sure which I preferred because, naturally, there are always going to be changes to a film- and some noticeable ones. However, both forms are still important. I may refer back to the film a bit- one of the drawbacks of not reading the book first, I guess.
I also feel like the last person to read this book, so hey! I made it at last. :)
What I liked-
Most of what I wrote in the film review and liked was in the book first, so yay. I also liked that Simon had a big sister too who was just as supportive. I'm an only child, but I of course get how important that is, having friends who might as well be family too.
Oh, and the opening scene with Martin dropped me into the middle of things, which surprised me, but made it all the more thrilling and scary for Simon to have to go through. The reveal at the end as to who Blue was- I loved it in the book too! It was so sweet and I caught myself grinning a lot in many places in the book. No surprise from my laugh a lot/cry more reaction to the film. :D
I enjoyed seeing more of the background of Simon's drama group/class. And the emails between him and Blue were great. Ugh, I'm getting feels and all squishy inside thinking about those two!
What I didn't like-
The treatment of Abby at times from many of the characters. It just seemed off, it's not her fault she's newer. And a few of the male characters got confused in my head at times, when Simon is wondering who Blue is. I don't know- I think that's just me. But I can't help that.
So yes, I've finally read the book too and loved it. A very well deserved 4 stars and I'm really excited to read Leah on the Offbeat next. Oh, and The Upside of Unrequited of course, which is set in the same world. :)
What are your thoughts on this book? The film? Which did you prefer?
All the best and happy reading.
The second review of the night is Inferno by Julie Kagawa, the final book in this series and, honestly, I can't believe it's all over. I'll definitely re-read them all, probably many times. I love dragons and I've loved this story. All the stars!
As always, I'll do my absolute best to keep spoilers away.
I went into this scared, simply because of how Legion ended and knowing a huge battle was coming. It was a great final battle, though nerve-wracking and with some things I certainly didn't see coming. They were bittersweet and pretty amazing. I was imagining it on a cinema screen half the time, because...well, it was a bit like that.
And seeing the Order having to finally work with the dragons was about as interesting and stressful for everyone as you can imagine. I really loved their interactions and how things changed over the course of the book.
Of course, I have grown ridiculously attached to many of these characters after having spent five books with them. I'm glad I finally could make my mind up on Mist- while I always liked that air of mystery about her and enjoyed reading her scenes, I could never fully trust her, and it's nice to come to a concrete decision.
In fact, even characters we only met in Inferno I grew to care about, despite the short time frame. (While writing this, I've just realised what some of the ending means for one of these new characters and it makes me very happy!)
As always, this was a super quick read, split into easy sections. Despite the week of no reading I had to let happen, it's always so easy to get back into this series. When I started this one, I updated on Goodreads that it felt like I'd not been away. That's so very true. I'm now excited my first series re-read (maybe late this year), since it's been so long since I read Talon- and seeing how everyone has changed since then. :)
If you haven't read them yet, I highly recommend the series. I mean, dragons! Enough said. :)
All the best and happy reading.
This is the first novella in the series and a bridge between the events of 'A Court of Wings and Ruin' and the next book. It's also the end of Feyre and Rhys' story- at least from the books being in their perspectives, so I'm really excited for the next ones and the characters they'll give us more insight into.
There may be some brief spoilers, but I'll try my best.
Now I've heard plenty of mixed reviews about this novella. I understand why. Though I did mostly enjoy it, I did think some of the beginning got a little repetitive. And while there maybe wasn't enough sense of danger as in the past, what was there certainly seems ominous enough. Honestly, after all the crying did in ACOWAR, it felt nice just to not have to worry about impending death for once. So while this novella may not have been necessary as such, it was a nice break.
There was still so much healing found in here. People in Velaris are still rebuilding themselves and their lives, not just from the war, but all the little attacks the city took in the last book and even back in ACOMAF. This is found everywhere and it's so nice to see it be important- not just to what has happened with the Inner Circle over the series, but the entire population of this city that we've all grown to love. Everyone matters.
Some other things I enjoyed-
- Cassian calling Rhys 'Rhysie'. Just cracked me up.
- The Illyrian snowball fight.
- Cassian and Mor having some POV's along with Feyre and Rhys.
- Amren in this. I grew to love her so much more than I already did. Amren doing jigsaw puzzles, her and Varian, seeing all the little adjustments she has to make now that she's solely High Fae- yeah, she's great. Not as though this is news to anyone.
- Basically just seeing the Inner Circle interact with each other. Those are always some of my favourite scenes.
- Feyre's birthday cake. I wouldn't have been able to cut it, let alone eat it!
- Rhys and Tamlin's scenes. Though I don't quite know how to feel about them. I mean, I still strongly dislike Tamlin and coming off the back of his behaviour in ACOWAR, there's no way he needs to be doing that much moping. He's a High Lord, he needs to look after what's left of his court.
A few other things did bug me and I hope they'll be sorted out later in the series. The first is Mor and Azriel. Now, I've made no secret of my love for Mor. In ACOMAF, she was the first character who made me feel ok about where I was at that time (again, I've mentioned many times that book saved my sanity around a year and a half ago).
However...why has she still not come clean to Az? To anyone? I did hurt for her in this novella, but it still doesn't change the fact that it's been a few months since that conversation between her and Feyre and still nothing has been said. Mor really needs to sit people and talk to them honestly.
Nesta. Yes, I understand some of her way of thinking after this and the preview of the next full book (More Cassian!! :D ). While I've never really liked Nesta, I do admit it must be really hard for her. But why is she being so hateful to both sisters now?
What has Elain done wrong, just for trying to come to terms with her Fae existence where Nesta hasn't? And after all Feyre did when they were all human, after all she's tried to do since...maybe she tries too hard but at least she cares. Nesta is the eldest and I often forget that because she doesn't act like it.
I really hope the next book brings the healing and change for her she clearly needs.
Overall, I did enjoy this little break from major events and it was nice just to see these characters living in relative normalcy for a while.
Does anyone else agree with me, or am I overthinking it/feeling too strongly? :)
In between a break from blogging and life, I'm way behind on both book and film reviews. So this post gets one of those sorted out- here are the final three books I read in April and what I thought about each of them.
First off, I have to admit it took me the best part of April to read this book. However, it was super easy to get back into and pick up where I'd left off, which was fantastic.
One of my favourite parts of the whole book was the banter between Lira and Elian. I was always laughing at them and I loved that part of their friendship/relationship. And it was a hate-to-love relationship, which is always by favourite kind. :) Likewise, Elian's crew- and his sister- were hilarious and I cared about them pretty quickly.
Despite being so many other kingdoms, I enjoyed seeing some of them, each very different, and exploring them with the characters. The Sea Queen was also really evil and seeing that in action often, even to Lira, brought a sense of realness to the threat of what she could do and that she had to be stopped.
In trying not to spoil things, one particular battle was amazing and kind of felt cinematic. If you've read the book, you can probably guess which one I mean. :)
A couple of things made it lose that final star for me- I wanted to see more of Lira's world. I know it was based off The Little Mermaid, but still. I loved seeing what it was like and wanted more overall- especially at the end.
The second point is more to do with my personal preference, but I thought there was a bit too much journeying. Again, I understand why there was a lot of time on ships, and I don't mind 'journey' books so long as it's important to the plot. Here, I just felt like more time could have been spent exploring other kingdoms.
But overall, I really enjoyed To Kill a Kingdom and will re-read at some point. :)
I'm going to miss Fennel so much. It was such a unique idea to have a pet to be made out of paper and he was great. :) It was nice to have descriptions of the locations Ceony goes to in the south of England. I've never been to London or any surrounding cities- I know the UK is an island, but living in the north doesn't mean they're right on my doorstep. It's several hours by car and train, so reading about them was a good alternative.
Now that Ceony could use so many different types of magic in this one, it made things like the fight scenes so much more interesting. I mean, there's only so much you can do with paper! I'm hoping we can learn more about the less-talked-of magic in the spin-offs.
However, I do once again feel that sometimes Ceony's reactions felt like she was younger than made out. She's now a fully grown woman and I didn't believe that all the time. I also thought some parts of the ending were rushed, so perhaps the book could have been made a few pages longer.
But overall, I have enjoyed them.
First up, when I finally came to write this review, I'd recently discovered this book was getting a sequel, so yay. :) But I'd searched for The Seafarer's Kiss for so long and was very happy to finally get it.
Honestly, I watched The Little Mermaid only a couple of years ago when I was about twenty or something (I know), but mermaids have always interested me regardless. Despite only being 212 pages long, there were so many good things about this book.
The descriptions of where Ersel lived and the way of life there were so detailed and I really felt like I knew their struggles- and I could definitely relate to Ersel wanting to get of where she was born and see the world.
I loved all interactions of Ersel and Ragna. Alright, so I also loved Ragna*, and the whole legendary shield maiden thing. As a more or less life-long fan of the Viking era and, by extension, Norse mythology, I was in my element with this book.
*Aforementioned sequel is more about Ragna. *squeal*
Since I'm discussing it, the decision to add Loki as a kind of Ursula-figure and make them gender fluid was a good one. Their interactions with Ersel made for great reading and lots of fun high stakes.
And while most of what I read surrounding Norse myth does make Loki male, but let's not forget that time Sleipnir, Odin's horse, was born because Loki shifted into the form of a mare and became pregnant with it. Definitely female that time.
Also, this book has both belugas and orcas! Yep, I've never come across a book with either unless it was in one of my undergraduate text books or reference literature, ect. They were fun, and I hope there will be more of both in the sequel somehow.
I'm unsure where to talk about him, but I'll quickly add that I disliked Havamal. He was well written to get that response- but as a character, I hated most things about him, particularly how he treat Ersel despite claiming to be her friend. Though he did look after her mother when she was unable to, I suppose.
However, my one main issue with the book is the length. I think it's still classed as a novel at 212 pages, so I don't think it would have hurt anything to have it be longer. I won't mention specifics because of spoilers, but there were a couple of things at the end I would liked to have fully seen and fleshed out more.
Perhaps they'll be mentioned by Ersel in the sequel (?), but having more pages would have been nice too.
All in all, I waited almost a year from when it was first published to when I read it, but it was worth the wait. One I'll definitely be reading again. :)